Emerson installs 68 controllers at multi-service utility

Emerson has been selected to modernise PLC-based controls for power and water plants and remote sites operated by the utilities department of the City of Fremont, Neb., which operates and manages water/wastewater collection, treatment and distribution, as well as coal and natural gas power generation, and transmission and distribution systems that serve customers over 60 square miles.

Emerson adds there were several problems with the existing mix of outdated PLCs. Challenges included a limited spare parts inventory, lack of manufacturer hardware and software support, inability to automate data collection and reporting, and lack of visibility into the operations of substations, lift stations and other remote assets. Often, utility staff needed to travel to the remote sites to diagnose problems and manually collect data to generate reports. Emerson’s single integrated Ovation automation platform, including its compact controller and SCADA technologies, will help eliminate these issues, enabling Fremont’s utility to reduce the time and expense associated with these vital activities.

“We recognised the many shortcomings of our 20-year-old PLC systems,” says Alan Kaspar, director of electrical engineering, City of Fremont, Dept. of Utilities. “Replacing the older controls will help enhance reliability and operational efficiency, which is so vital in helping us meet the needs of our customers. We’re also looking forward to being able to make better use of our limited resources—something not possible with our outdated PLCs.”

Emerson will install 68 Ovation compact controllers to control and monitor various utility processes including high-voltage breakers, gas distribution network flow and pressure, water treatment plant control, water well level monitoring, and wastewater lift station monitoring. Emerson is also providing radio technology as part of the SCADA network throughout the organization’s service area.

When completed in 2020, Fremont’s Ovation system will manage approximately 3,715 total I/O.

This is the second contract Emerson has received from Fremont’s utility. In 2017, Emerson replaced the steam turbine generator static excitation system at Lon D. Wright Unit 8 power plant with its Ovation excitation solution.